Last Saturday, the fabulous Jen Fox and I had a Tinker Day at 1450 Ocean (the Camera Obscura building) in Santa Monica. We used inexpensive and recycled materials to make brush bots. Dollar store electric toothbrushes are a great source for materials, as they include a motor, battery, and other reusable bits.
Check out a video of our fun!
Jen cut off the head from her toothbrush (and a couple others), and created a bristle bot built around a balloon and housing from a solar lawn light. Balance was precarious at times, but when it fell, we discovered that it was good at breakdancing too.
My brushbot was built on a spoon from Yogurtland, and stood on three golf tees. I tried to keep it as minimal as possible otherwise – motor, battery, and wires. For a switch, I stretched the wires out into arms and hooked them together when I wanted it to run. And, of course, the bot requested eyes. I couldn’t bring myself to refuse.
We also created a couple bots made from bamboo skewers, one of which included a 3d printed mechanism to give the movement a little more wobble (see the video above).
As we decided to forgo pre-made battery packs and switches, there was a lot of experimentation of how to effectively hook up and control power to our bots. We have used electrical tape to secure wires to a battery in the past; this time we tried using hot glue, metal pieces left over from the toothbrushes, coins, and balloons. Keep an eye out for my upcoming Instructable detailing our different approaches.